Interview – Paul Wade

Paul Wade, Deputy Principal of the British International School in Belgrade, joined this institution in September 2019. In a short period of time, he has managed to lay the foundation for some innovative models of teaching and learning including a reform of the grading system.

We met Paul Wade on a very exciting school day: BIS hosted the inaugural Model United Nations Conference, which brought together students from more than twenty countries who spoke on behalf of all the United Nations. In his introductory speech, in which he praised the efforts made by Cameron and Nyal and all the members of the Organizational Board, each one of whom are the students at BIS, Paul Wade highlighted the fact that it is not only the knowledge that matters, but also one’s ability to speak a language and exchange ideas in it. During the interview, we came to know that learning the spoken English language and practicing it are considered to be the foundational principles of quality education.

You have already started making some key changes…

We have been using a traditional grading system, and it is the right time for us to turn to contemporary models. Most schools in the UK have moved away from the traditional sort of grading and are now looking at students’ attainment over time. Behind the scenes, we are trying to use technology a bit more in the administrative sharing of information, but the most important rule for a change manager to adhere to is – not all can be done at once. If all the rules are set by me, they will not stick. What I prefer to do is find out what people want, and then create changes that are desired.

Paul Wade qualified as a teacher at Bradford University, Yorkshire. He holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Wales, Bangor and an MA in Special and Inclusive Education from the Institute of Education, London. He taught in and led schools in the UK, the Czech Republic, Poland and Russia before coming to Belgrade.

Cooperation with the parents is something you want to enhance…

I really want to engage with our parents, both in terms of getting them into school for panel workshops on how to raise and support a child and in terms of helping them form a community within themselves. More than a half of our students and their parents are not in their home country. They do not always have a network or a family to go to, so we intend to organise different social events to help them feel more settled. Having lived as an international citizen, I know the significance of having someone to rely on.

You are in touch with other International schools…

I am open to working with other educational organizations to help improve the chances of children. I recognize that educational systems from around the world have a lot to offer to each other and would be keen to embark on professional exchange and shared research programmes with colleagues from Belgrade and other countries.

What is your pedagogical credo?

I constantly strive to ensure the best possible outcomes for all of the children at my school by placing inclusive practice, assessment for learning and high expectations at the core of my educational philosophy. I basically want all the teachers, children and parents to believe in the potential of every student as much as I do.